3GPP NR Meeting 230Balázs Bertényi of Nokia is the 3GPP RAN Chairman, who recently oversaw some remarkably intense work to finalize "5G NR." That's otherwise known as Release 15. Guy Daniels of TelecomTV got clear answers to questions every pr person has been ducking: What is it exactly? How does it differ from LTE radio? The "two main elements" apply to the older definition of 5G, high frequencies only.  

5G NR operates in higher bands, such as 28 GHz millimeter wave. There's a great deal of unused spectrum up there. Also More bandwidth in wider channels, up to 400 MHz. Few today have more than LTE's 100 MHz limit. But the U.S. 28 GHz band has ~2,000 MHz.

The illustration is a schedule from the frantic last week with ~ 200 hours of meetings to wrap things up. The words below are my edits. I recommend you listen to the video. It's less than three minutes.

 At high frequencies, the bandwidth is there. (The available spectrum is the whole point of using mmWave.) Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, & ZTE have all demonstrated 20 GHz peaks. Qualcomm models median actual user speeds well over a gig.

Bertényi doesn't forget, "We also have Massive MIMO." He projects the improved version of MM in Release 15 has 15-20% more throughput in the lower bands. I'm researching whether the improved MM is because of the "New Radio" or just is another improvement in Release 15.

"Of course," he adds, "We also have the low latency." The common target is < 10 milliseconds, although a future, ultrareliable version of 5G can get the latency from the cell to the phone down towards 1 ms. LTE is now down to 2 ms, although neither 5G nor LTE equipment with those low latencies is available. In most telecom networks, you have to add the latency from the cell to the C-RAN intelligence. No one is talking down to 1 or 2 ms unless the intelligence moves to the edge, which is very expensive.

With China Telecom now committing to 3.5 GHz, the strong majority of 5G in Europe and Asia will not be high frequency in the early years according to informal surveys.

There is much, much more in the Release.

dave askAugust 2018 Verizon's $20B 5G build is starting to add customers in 2018. Gigabit LTE & Massive MIMO became real in 2017 and enow expanding worldwide. Almost all the other "5G" is mid-band, 70%-90% slower + hype. Europe is mostly pr. The term 5G has been bastardized, unfortunately.

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor. I always want to hear from you, especially if you catch a mistake.


 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.